updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri July 8, 2011
id Software founder sees mobile growing faster
id Software's co-founder John Carmack in an interview posted Friday saw mobile devices overpowering the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Quake and Rage architect was careful to stress that the iPad 2 and other modern tablets or smartphones were a "factor of a couple" slower than an Xbox 360, but the much faster iteration of the devices was guaranteeing they would be faster. He guessed for Industry Gamers that it would take two years and might lead to a shift in TV gaming where the phone handles everything a big console does today.
"You could certainly imagine a future where, instead of having your console, you have your mobile device and it talks to your TV and when you want the experience on your big screen with the surround sound coming out of there, it’s still on the same device," Carmack said.
Mobile games themselves wouldn't be the ones to topple console gaming. Sales were still going up on top-flight console games, so phone and tablet gaming were mostly additive rather than cannibalizing sales. Games were big enough now to have marquee titles like Angry Birds that still couldn't compare to a blockbuster PS3 or Xbox 360 game.
id still had to learn to adapt, and Carmack said efforts were underway to cut down the development time on games like Rage so it didn't get caught out by mobile or other trends in the future. "When we started Rage, iOS didn’t exist," he explained. "There was no iPhone. All of that has happened just in the space of one project development timeline."
The game developer has already planned a much stronger commitment to mobile. During our own interview with id, the company's Raphael Brown hinted at games that took advantage of the increase in power with the iPad 2 and eventual iPhone 5. Quad-core hardware like the PlayStation Vita and future phones or tablets will be powerful enough to play a console-quality version of Rage and are limited only by storage.